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A new lease of life for pacemakers, men too stubborn to visit their GP and the hospitals saying no to nuisance patients

A round-up of the health news headlines on Monday 5 November

Patients who have pacemakers fitted could soon face fewer operations to replace batteries after a team of US researchers began work on a device which gets power from a beating heart, reports the BBC.

The device is comprised of piezoelectric materials – which are used in some microphones to convert vibrations into electric signals.

In tests designed to simulate heartbeats, enough electricity was generated to power a pacemaker.

Designers now hope to test the device on a real heart to see if the beating can generate enough electricity.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘If researchers can refine the technology and it proves robust in clinical trials, it would further reduce the need for battery changes.

The male stubborn streak is damaging mens’ health according to new research which shows men are far less likely to access NHS services than women.

A study by the National Pharmacy Association showed that men only visit their GP four times a year compared with 18 for women, says the Guardian.

The figures also show that men will visit a pharmacy only four times a year on average while women will go 18 times.

The study also showed that 90 per cent of men do not want to trouble a doctor or pharmacist unless they have a serious problem.

According to the report said that this means that men are less likely to access disease screening or seek help for things such as stopping smoking.

Mike Holden, chief executive of the NPA, said: ‘Men tend to be driven by what they see as their immediate healthcare needs, and focus rather less on long-term wellbeing.

Nuisance patients could be refused care at hospitals under plans due to be unveiled today.

With a range of proposed changes to the NHS constitution expected to be unveiled today, the Telegraph is reporting that there will be a ‘clear national rule’ allowing hospitals to bar persistent troublemakers.

According to the paper, those barred patients would be free to go to another trust for treatment and the right to refuse would only apply to day-to-day treatment such as through outpatient appointments.

Hospitals would not be able to refuse care in emergency cases.

Norman Lamb, the care minister, said: “It is important for all of us to understand that we have responsibilities as well as rights and of course we should be treating professionals with respect just as they have to treat their patients with dignity and respect. It is a two-way street.”

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